NIH employee steps down after accusations of moonlighting as a Covid troll and ranting against ‘mask Nazis’

Former employee allegedly spent months smearing Dr Anthony Fauci on a conservative website

Madeline Roth
Tuesday 22 September 2020 10:54 BST
Dr Anthony Fauci loses patience with US Senator Rand Paul in coronavirus hearing
Dr Anthony Fauci loses patience with US Senator Rand Paul in coronavirus hearing (Getty Images)

A public affairs specialist at the National Institute of Health has stepped down after he was accused of repeatedly disparaging his employer on the conservative website RedState.

A report published on Monday by The Daily Beast  alleges Bill Crews moonlighted as an anonymous writer and managing editor for RedState while also working in the public relations department of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Mr Crews reportedly spent months criticising officials tasked with combating the Covid-19 pandemic, using his RedState perch to spread coronavirus disinformation and to smear his boss, NIAID director and White House coronavirus task force member Dr Anthony Fauci, as a "media-whoring mask nazi."

In a statement provided to The Independent, Kathy Stover, an NIH Branch Chief, said Mr Crews had stepped down from the agency.

"NIAID first learned of this issue this morning, and Mr Crews has informed us of his intention to retire," Ms Stover said. "We have no further comments on this as it is a personnel matter."

According to The Daily Beast, Mr Crews, using the pseudonym "streiff," has contributed to RedState since 2004 and has written more than 400 posts this year alone.

In his posts about coronavirus, Mr Crews criticised the work of his colleagues by ranting against social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.

Such measures, "streiff" claimed, are part of an anti-Trump conspiracy meant to damage the country's economy and tamper the president's reelection prospects.

"This whole thing has been a total fraud, insofar as the policy response to Wuhan virus, from day one," Mr Crews allegedly wrote in June under his pseudonym. "There has never been a need for a lockdown. There has never been a need for wearing masks."

In July, he echoed those sentiments by allegedly writing in another post: "When the smoke clears on this Wuhan virus tragedy (and I mean the tragedy of the working men and women of this nation who have seen their livelihoods and life's work and, sometimes their actual lives destroyed by the unreasoning panic inflicted upon us by the public health nazis), one thing will become blindingly obvious: the nation and the Trump administration were failed at every turn by Dr Anthony Fauci."

Mr Crews has also reportedly suggested retribution against employees of the agency he worked for, writing in one post that officials responsible for the pandemic response should be executed. "If there were justice…we'd send and [sic] few dozen of these fascists to the gallows," he allegedly wrote.

In its report, The Daily Beast claimed it was able to confirm Mr Crews's identity through public records, social media posts, and internal records from the NIH.

On his "streiff" account, Mr Crews reportedly alluded to his work at the NIH and even posted information shared internally at the agency to other RedState writers.

Mr Crews has not responded to The Independent's request for comment.

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